It’s always dangerous to make predictions, especially when they involve the future, as one saying goes. However, for midsize enterprise CIOs, it’s crucial to at least look at possible trends that might affect one’s company and career. And besides, if we always knew what was going to happen, it would take all the fun out of the guessing game.

With that, we share some 2017 predictions from information technology industry leaders, published in a lengthy and wide-ranging Forbes article published earlier this month, written by consultant Gil Press. In the piece, Press offers comments from smart executives on five somewhat separate subjects (artificial intelligence, big data, Internet of Things, cybersecurity and the IT jobs market) that are at least causally connected.  

Artificial Intelligence Seems Natural

The hottest IT segment right now is artificial intelligence, which includes machine and deep learning technologies, as Press says. Among the game changers here is that humans will no longer have to speak in a way that computers understand, but the other way around.

As one CEO says: “Since the advent of computers, we have been forced to speak the language of computers in order to communicate with them and now we’re teaching them to communicate in our language.” The marketing implications of chatbots for search engines, customer service sites, and other areas are huge. Everyone gets a personalized experience.

Big Data Is Key To, Like, Everything

And with AI’s natural growth, and machine learning capabilities (computers that are self-taught) deployed, information patterns can be gleaned like never before. Big data’s role will just grow, given AI’s insatiable demand for raw facts to process. Where this mutual dependence trend of AI-big data ends is unclear. In fact, says one chief marketing officer: “Artificial intelligence will destroy the world but not before it really helps B2B marketers.”

IoT: Always Coming Always Receding

While IoT naturally is seen as the logical next step in the evolution of big data, you can’t expect too much too fast. “Analyzing data from IoT and sensors clearly has the potential for massive impact, but most companies are far (FAR!) from ready,” says one CEO. “IoT will continue to get lots of lip service, but actual deployments will remain low.”

Security Lost With IoT

One of the obstacles, of course, to IoT adoption is that this is a relatively new area and it is quite vulnerable. Admittedly, it isn’t exactly clear how a cyber crook can actually make money off of hacking any one IoT-enabled device. Despite this, one expert cited by Press predicted that IoT will be hit by ransomware in 2017; another exec predicted IoT “will shut down the Internet.”

Smart Jobs Will Be In Demand

Because of the quest for greater automation and efficiency, the demand for AI specialists will only grow. Chief marketing officers in particular will want to tap into data to improve lead generation and sales. In fact, says one chief product officer, “in 2017, CMOs will look to internal data specialists as their superheroes.”

As a midsized enterprise IT executive, where do these trends place your company and career?